Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Your Father knows what you need and when you need it.

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6: 8).

Thursday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. Today, the Lord teaches the disciples the Great Our Father or the Lord's Prayer. Our key Scripture is from what the Jesus said before He taught the Lord's Prayer: "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?" (Luke 11: 11). Even in our deep selfishness, we know the difference between a fish and a snake.
"You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free." Do you know one truth that will make you free? "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." It is the truth you understand and appropriate that will give you the victory and freedom you desire so desperately.

"Do you not yet understand? Do you not remember?" Jesus queried the disciples. Understand what Jesus is teaching us about the Father. The Father acknowledges everything He created but loves us tenderly as sons and daughters. He provides all living things with food. His plan for our life is peace and prosperity. The shortcut way to is: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and everything else will be given you besides." (Matthew 6: 33).

We are truly sons and daughters of God who deserves the best from God. (Romans 8: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

God loves a cheerful giver.

"God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9: 7).

Wednesday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. Our daily bible verse is from 2 Corinthians 9: 7).
"God loves a cheerful giver." Why on earth would anyone not be joyful and cheerful in giving to God and His works? Only one reason occurs to me. Not meanness. Not stinginess. But crass IGNORANCE!

Ignorance of elementary facts are dangerous. God is the source of every blessing, every gift, everything. He is the source of the food on the table from the seed, the sowing, harvesting, cooking and serving the food. God is the first cause of everything. He is the cause of the inspiration and the power to act.

Today's word continues to teach:
"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9: 8). Do you believe this? Faith is nothing more than hearing this word or reading this word of God now and believing it. I believe it with my whole heart. This is why the most joyful thing I do on every eve of the Lord's Day is writing that check for offering.

Giving to God and His Church does not only bring peace and joy to the heart but guarantees security. Taste and see that the Lord is faithful and merciful.

"Remember, the man who plants only a few seeds will not have much grain to gather. The man who plants many seeds will have much grain to gather." (2 Corinthians 9: 6 NLV).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, June 17, 2019

What do you do when life throws you a knock out punch?

"My soul, give praise to the Lord.
I will praise the Lord all my days,
make music to my God while I live." (Cf Psalm 146: 2).

Tuesday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. What do you do when life throws you a knock out punch? David the man after God's heart is one who receives far more punches from life than anyone in the Bible. The trials did wonders to his character as the Bible predicts.

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1: 2 - 4).

And this one too:

"We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance,  and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us." (Romans 5: 3 - 5).

David left us a winning formula for dealing with hard times. In one word, it is praise and thanksgiving. This is why we choose the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 146)for our reflection today.

"He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who alone made heaven and earth, the seas and all they contain.

"It is he who keeps faith for ever, who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free.

"It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down, the Lord, who protects the stranger and upholds the widow and orphan." (Psalm 146: 2, 5 - 9).

8 different mercies of God are listed in Psalm 146: 5 - 9. Relishing them is the way your faith grows.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Overcome evil by good.

"Offer no resistance to one who is evil." (Matthew 5: 39).

Monday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. In the Gospel of today (Matthew 5: 38 - 42), we see Jesus transform the moral law and overlaid it with a higher code for the citizens of the Kingdom that He came to establish. How did Jesus do this? The main principles are in today's Gospel. But the practicum is in the first Reading for today (2 Corinthians 6: 1 - 10).

Before going to the first Reading, let us consider a few principles. The existence of the stubborn persistence of evil in the world is the major cause of unbelief today. When you tell people that Christ has destroyed evil, they are unbelieving because of the apparent dominance of evil everywhere. Jesus teaches that the Answer to Evil is the CROSS.
"Offer no resistance to one who is evil." (Matthew 5: 39). This Scripture verse offers us the CROSS through which we too can destroy evil. Remember "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity."
Let us see the practicum from Paul's letter to the Corinthians:

"We prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering: in times of hardship and distress; when we are flogged, or sent to prison, or mobbed; labouring, sleepless, starving. ((2 Corinthians 6: 4 - 5 & follows).

How did the early Christians overcome the most powerful empire ever designed by man? The early Christians conquered the super powerful Roman Empire through the Cross. They were crucified, thrown to wild beasts in amphitheaters all over the empire and experienced everything that Paul mentioned in the first Reading. They did not receive the grace of God in vain because God is a Promise-Maker and a Promise-Keeper.
For God says:

“In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

Those who persevere in this struggle are already saved.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Blessed Trinity is a mystery.

"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
the God who is, who was, and who is to come." (Cf Revelation 1: 8).

Sunday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time is Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so revealed our Lord Jesus Christ. So believes all who call themselves Christians and are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

How do we go about describing the God who is One in Three and at the same time the most perfect Unity. I would rather trust what the Church teaches:

"The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the "mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God". To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel's faith before the Incarnation of God's Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit." (CCC 237).

"Blest be God the Father,
and the Only Begotten Son of God,
and also the Holy Spirit,
for he has shown us his merciful love." (Entrance Antiphon).

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Become a new creation.

"So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5: 17).

Saturday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. We can be "a new creation" or remain the old creature. But we can not be both. This is the word to live by for today.

Brethren, how do we become a new creation? What does the Scriptures say? Listen:
That old self corrupted by worldly and deceitful ideas must be discarded. Then you must allow the daily consumption of the word of God to reshape and renew your thoughts, words and actions. When this is accomplished, you will no longer conform to the sinful patterns of this world. Your desires will be transformed. Your friends will say: "What happened to you? You are different." You will smile and bear witness to the power of the name of Jesus. (Cf Romans 12: 2, Ephesians 4: 22 - 23. Etc)

It is all God's work. (Cf 2 Corinthians 5: 14 - 31).

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

We hold fragile genuine riches in clay vessels.

"But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4: 7).

Friday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. Treasure in earthen vessel? We are the vessels. What treasure are we holding? Much genuine treasures:

#1 The Holy Spirit
#2 The Eucharist
#3 The Gift of Reconciliation
#4 The word of God
#5 Faith

All these and many more give us extraordinary power to be used by God for ministry. Let us consider our weaknesses as earthen vessels:

#1 Physical
#2 Spiritual
#3 Mental
#4 Moral

No government, company or business can entrust its critical resources and assets to the baggage that we present to God. Yet what happens? The The Father embraces us "so that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us."

Consider some extraordinary people God used in our days:
#1 Mother St Teresa of Kolkata.
#2 St John Paul II.
Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, they said YES to God and the rest is history.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I shall not be discouraged in the wonderful ministry God gave me through His mercy.

"Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged." (2 Corinthians 4: 1).

Thursday of the 10th week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church. St Anthony of Padua (1195 to 1231) was a Franciscan friar who was filled with the Holy Spirit and faith and was never discouraged by setbacks in the ministry the Lord entrusted him. His preaching ministry took him from North Africa to Italy and France. He is known as the Evangelical Doctor because he based all his teaching and preaching on the Gospel.

St Anthony is renowned also as a ready helper in difficult cases. Some years ago, Microsoft seized one of my important email addresses. I did everything to get it back but no success. Then I had the inspiration to pray to St Anthony of Padua and within a few hours got back the email address.

St Anthony believed that God in His mercy gave him a wonderful ministry of spreading His Good News to others and discouragement is not an option. Today's key Scripture inspires me to believe the same.

St Anthony of Padua pray for us.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Not many of us should become teachers.

"Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 19).

Wednesday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. Call the message from our Master and Teacher today "a double-edged sword." Teacher beware! You teach not only by what you say. Every action of yours is closely scrutinized. I have heard people talk about teachers and preachers in these terms: "He is real. He is not real."

How do you react with this kind of warning from St James?
"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also." (James 3: 1 - 2).

Are you concerned or discouraged by the warnings? No need to.  We take consolation from the promise of the Spirit:
"Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh......  In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.Galatians 5: 16, 22-23).

We are not qualified to take credit for anything in our ministry. Our qualification comes from God,  who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant by giving us the Holy Spirit. (Cf 2 Corinthians 3: 4 - 6).

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Monday, June 10, 2019

This man encourages us to remain faithful to Jesus.

"When he [Barnabas] arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,  for he was a good man, filled with the holy Spirit and faith." (Acts 11: 23 - 24).

Tuesday of the 10th week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Barnabas the Apostle. Barnabas introduced St Paul to the other Apostle in Jerusalem and later did missionary work with Paul.

Barnabas' special gift of the Holy Spirit is encouraging the brethren. The gift of encouragement is sorely needed in the Church today. Without encouragement, many people will give up fruitful ministry at the first setback.

Who is the Barnabas in your life? Who are you encouraging to remain faithful to Jesus in firmness of heart? How do you encourage? You encourage as the Lord encourages you. (Cf 2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 4). You can encourage with words via text messages, emails, letters. You can pray for the servant of God regularly. You can offer financial help. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on how you can become an encourager of the brethren.

"I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
But I have called you friends,
because I have told you
everything I have heard from my Father." (John 15: 15).

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Sunday, June 09, 2019

New Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

"The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus." (Cf Acts 1: 14).
 
Today is Monday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church, a brand new feast "instituted by Pope Francis on February 11, 2018 — the 160th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Lourdes."

“Behold, your son.... Behold, your mother.” (Cf John 19: 26 - 27).

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the only human being that witnessed all the mysteries of our salvation from Conception to Death of Jesus to the Birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday. Is this an accident or mere coincidence?

O God, Father of mercies, Your Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also; grant with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary that Your Church will grow to embrace all people. (Cf Collect of the feast).

"Happy are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise,
for from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God." (Gospel Acclamation).

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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Father send Your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind.

"They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke of the marvels of God." (Acts 2: 4, 11).

Pentecost Sunday 2019. The Birthday 🎂 of the Church. Happy Birthday our dear Mother and Teacher!

"The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. (CCC 737).

"Father of light, from whom every good gift comes, send your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing praises your in words beyond the power of speech, for without your Spirit man could never raise his voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Pentecost Collect).

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Friday, June 07, 2019

The sweet Providence of Jesus provided for Paul in Rome.

"He [Paul] remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 28: 30 - 31).

Saturday of the 7th week of Easter. The end of the Easter Season. Sunday is Solemnity of Pentecost. Paul has now arrived in Rome after a scary sea voyage. He will be tried by the Emperor. Our Scripture text today is the very last verses of the Acts of the Apostles. What strikes you in this Scripture? It is a happy ending for Paul and consolation for us.
Although Paul was under house arrest, he was allowed to remain in his own lodgings. He was free to receive whomever he wished.
"And with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."

What a happy set of circumstances! Is this situation accident, luck or just a happy break for Paul? It is the providence of Jesus that arranged these circumstances for Paul. Why? In order to encourage Paul and every disciple of Jesus that the Lord is faithful. He will always be with us in every situation.

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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Bless the Lord my soul.

"Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts." (Psalm 103: 2).

Friday of the 7th week of Easter is also the First Friday of June. Our reflection today is taken from the Responsorial Psalm 103, verse 2. This Psalm is titled the Psalm of David and is in praise of divine goodness. David, the "man after God's heart" gives us the secret of enduring loving relationship with God: Thanksgiving and Praise.

David remembers every one of God's favors to him and frequently composes psalms to celebrate new favors. For example, he lists particular favors below:
"Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills,
Who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion,
Who fills your days with good things, so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." (Psalm 103: 3 - 5).

Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. We have the opportunity for a special renewal by the Holy Spirit. All we need is the desire and asking for it. David had a great boost of the Holy Spirit after he was anointed by the Prophet Samuel. When the Holy Spirit is established in us, remembering God's gifts will be automatic. The Holy Spirit will constantly remind us of these gifts.

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Honor Jesus in the First Friday of June 2019.

June 7th First Friday in June 2019.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 6th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #6.

#6.  "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy."

June is the Month the Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

"O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and glowing furnace of love, You are my sanctuary.  O adorable and glorious Savior, consume my heart with that burning fire that ever inflames Your Heart.
Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your Love.  Let my heart be one with, and in all things conformed to, Yours. May Your Will be the rule of both my desires and my actions. Amen."  (St Alphonsus Ligouri, Bishop and Doctor of the Church).

"Jesus has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings" without exception."  (CCC 478).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Where is your Jerusalem?

“Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.” (Acts 23: 11).

Thursday of the 7th week of Easter.
Paul was under voluntary house arrest when Jesus appeared to him at night and promoted him in his ministry. "I am happy with the work you have done in Jerusalem. I here and now promote you to go up to Rome."

Where is your Jerusalem? How do you account for your stewardship? Remember the commission? We are to bear witness to 4 things:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

Are you ready for the New Pentecost?

Eternal Father, prepare us for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let Your Spirit come upon us with the power to fill us with His gifts and make us always willing to embrace Your gracious will every moment of our lives. Amen.

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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Lord, prepare us for spiritual warfare.

"Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood." (Acts 20: 28).

Wednesday of the 7th week of Easter. The above Scripture fits the life and mission of St Boniface (680 - 754), the Apostle to Germany whose feast the Church celebrates today. Born in England and sent to evangelize Germany, he was consecrated to the truth as the first Bishop of Germany. Boniface was martyred by the natives. The people who martyred him did not know that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. The German Church flourished to the benefit of Christianity.

What did Jesus mean when He prayed for us:  "Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth." He prayed that our minds will remember and understand the wonderful truth He came to teach us. Baptism of the Holy Spirit brings us the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is also preparation for spiritual warfare. Do you not yet understand? Do you not remember that you too must suffer before you come to everlasting life?

But do not be afraid. Jesus our Captain and Leader has gone there before us and He tells us: "Have courage. I have overcome the world." St Boniface too overcame the world. He is honored all over the world on his feast day.

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Monday, June 03, 2019

T'is not from chance our comfort springs.

"The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all I have told you." (John 14: 26).

Tuesday of the 7th week of Easter. There are 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are 12 fruits of the same awesome Spirit. When I became acquainted with the Holy Spirit and began to appreciate Him more and more, what I appreciated most is the subject of our Scripture reflection: The Holy Spirit helps me to understand the Scriptures that I have appropriated and secondly, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the good things God is doing for me. It is impossible to offer praises and thanks if you do not know what God is doing for you. I thank the Holy Spirit every morning for this wonderful gifts.

Consider for a moment what God is doing for you:

"The child of God can fear no ill,
His chosen, dread no foe;
We leave our fate with thee, and wait Thy bidding when to go.
‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our trust, O King of kings." (Liturgy of the Hours).

What does this mean? Not even a single comfort you enjoy in life comes from chance, luck or accident. Every good thing that comes to you is from God's gracious ordaining. We find exactly the same idea in 2 Corinthians 1: 3 where God is called "Father of mercies and God of ALL comforts."
Did you notice the word ALL. It means TODO, no exception. It is impossible for you to know all these without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday the 9th of June, as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, each of us has the opportunity to be renewed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

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Sunday, June 02, 2019

We have never even heard there is anything like the Holy Spirit.

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” (Acts 19: 2).

Monday of the 7th week of Easter. Why did Paul ask the Christians of Ephesus this blunt and embarrassing question? Probably Paul noticed something from their questions, words and behavior that were dissonant with the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Is this really the Blood of Christ? Asked a Eucharistic minister, a new convert to the Church.

How would you answer the question? “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” Not this way: “We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” said the new Ephesian Christians. What difference does the Holy Spirit make in your life? Which of His gifts can you claim?

1. Wisdom
2.Understanding
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

Without the active indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it will be impossible to avoid serious sin and to live an effective Christian life. Was this what Paul observed in Ephesus?

Pope St John XXIII must have the Holy Spirit in mind when he advised: "Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do." (Pope St John XXIII)

Today is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and 14 companions who were martyred in 1886 and 1887 by King Mwanga of Uganda for resolutely refusing to participate in homosexual practices.

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Saturday, June 01, 2019

Why are you standing there looking at the sky?

“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1: 11).

Sunday of the 7th week of Easter, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus. Forty days after His Resurrection and at the end of His instructions on the Kingdom of God, it was time to depart for Heaven. His disciples were filled with joy as they returned to Jerusalem to await "the Promise of the Father", the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus talked a lot in His last discourse before His passion.

We do not have time to stand here or there looking at the sky. Now is the time to busy ourselves through prayer and study preparing for the the feast of the Holy Spirit which is next Sunday.

"Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who believe that your Only Begotten Son, our Redeemer,
ascended this day to the heavens,
may in spirit dwell already in heavenly realms.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever." Collect of the feast of Ascension).

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Friday, May 31, 2019

No Prayer, No Experience of God.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.  Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete." (John 16: 23 - 24).

Saturday of the 6th week of Easter. Jesus tells us to approach the throne of grace and mercy of Abba Father and ask for whatever we need with boldness and expectant faith. If you never ask in prayer, you may never experience the pure joy of answered prayer.

"Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7: 7 AMP).

Jesus teaches that Prayer is a vital necessity because Prayer is the only thing that gives us the direct and irrefutable experience of God.
But to pray with the guarantee of receiving, you must pray like Jesus. You must pray as the Church has learned to pray. "According to Your will and not mine for I do not know what is the best for me."

When you pray and receive answer to your prayer, do you think it is a coincidence? Perhaps the first time. Or the first few times. The cause and effect of prayer is no accident. No prayer. No answer.

The Father wants you to experience the pure joy of answered prayer so that your joy will be complete.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mary said YES to an incomprehensible mystery.

"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1: 45).

Friday of the 6th week of Easter is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "The Visitation is the meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of St John the Baptist. Mary's "Magnificat" is another testimony of her humility before God. Her readiness to serve Elizabeth is a good lesson on charity." (Roman Missal).

Mary said YES to an incomprehensible mystery. Like Abraham, she believed and hoped against hope. Like Abraham, Mary was richly rewarded for her faith...  “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb," cried out Elizabeth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit....."Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed," Mary cried out with exuberance. (Luke 1: 48). Yes indeed. Billions of people call Mary blessed amongst women.

"Blessed is the Virgin Mary, who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Luke 1: 45).

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

He laughs best who laughs last.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy." (John 16: 20).

Thursday of the 6th week of Easter. Many of us have probably heard this: "He who laughs last, laughs best." Jesus promises us the last laugh. This laugh will be filled with joy and will last forever. In the short time, our Savior and Redeemer is asking us to endure all the trials, deprivations and persecutions with the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit.

"I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I go, but I will come back to you, and your hearts will be full of joy." (Cf John 14: 18).

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

When the Holy Spirit is Jesus..

"I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever." (John 14: 16).

Wednesday of the 6th week of Easter. The drums are sounding louder for the celebration of Pentecost. What do we expect?
#1. The Parakletos who in 1 John 2: 1 is the Lord Jesus Himself.

#2. In John 14: 16, the Holy Spirit is the Advocate, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity whom the Father will give us to abide with us forever!

#3. In John 14: 26, He is the Advocate that the Father will send in the name of Jesus to teach us all that we need to know for our ministry and remind us everything Jesus has taught us.

#4. In John 15: 26, the Advocate the Spirit of truth whom the Father will send "in my name." He will bear witness to Jesus and enable us to bear witness to Jesus too.

All these promises are ours for the desire and the asking.

"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord. I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters." (Cf Psalm 17: 50; 21: 23).

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Monday, May 27, 2019

What must I do to be saved?

 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16: 30).

Tuesday of the 6th week of Easter. We The Holy Spirit is building up the Body of Christ. Paul and Silas were incarcerated in a maximum security prison in Philippi, a Roman colony. God responded to their praise,  thanksgiving and songs through a powerful earthquake that smashed all the jail doors and unshackled all the prisoners. The statled goaler was shocked that Paul and Silas did not escape. This action coupled with the their prayers and songs led him to faith.

The prison guard perceived that Paul and Silas are in truth free while he the goaler is in fact imprisoned by fears, anxieties and doubts. With the help of grace of the Holy Spirit, he decided that he needs what Paul and Silas enjoys. That is, the Shalom of Jesus.

Where do you feel deep pain, fears, worries and doubts in your life?

Paul answered the goaler's question:  “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” (Acts 16: 31).
The same truth can set you free today.

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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Words to remember the next time you are in crisis.

“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith." (John 16: 1).

Monday of the 6th week of Easter. Stark warning of the cost of discipleship. Severe tests and persecutions that will be provoked by witnessing to Jesus Christ.

On the three occasions I had a serious crisis of faith, I wished I had remembered this warning of Jesus. If it were not for the timely intervention of the Holy Spirit, my faith would have been in the past tense. On one of the three occasions, I heard these words in my heart: "Who is your security?" I answered correctly "Jesus Christ." The Tempter sneaked away.

On the two other occasions, I felt like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Hope was vanishing. I felt sad and foolish for trusting Jesus. Again the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit restored faith and hope. My heart was burning within me as I heard:
“I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead."

Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to experience how God works in our lives and even to remember to share the experience with others.

"It was ordained that the Christ should suffer and rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory." (Luke 24: 46, 26). So must we. 

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Holy Spirit will teach you everything.

"The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." (John 14: 26).

Sunday of the 6th week of Easter. Two weeks to Pentecost. The excitement is growing. The disciples were advised to retreat to the Upper Room and prepare for this phenomenal event.  The Holy Spirit? Why does He matter?
"The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men." (CCC 747). This is He and this is what He does. He is also the Lord and Giver of life. The eternal life we start enjoying here and now when we believe in Jesus. He is also the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

If you have received Him but not yet activated this awesome Person, prepare for Pentecost Sunday June 9th through intense desire and prayer.

"If you love me, keep my commandments, says the Lord,
and I will ask the Father and he will send you another Paraclete,
to abide with you for ever." (John 14: 15 - 16).

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Friday, May 24, 2019

St Bede the Venerable shed a brilliant light on England.

"Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number." (Acts 16: 5).

Saturday of the 5th week of Easter. Our reflection today is pulled from the 1st Reading: The introduction of St Timothy to the Apostle Paul and their work in Derbe and Lystra. We read of the fruit of their missionary endeavors:
"Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number." What does it mean to say that the Church grew stronger in faith? It means that the Christians grew stronger in their understanding and acceptance of the truths of the faith. Is this something that can be said of you? For example, are you growing in your understanding and acceptance of the truths in Sacred Scripture and all the teachings of the Church?

Today is the feast of St Bede the Venerable (672 - 735), Priest and Doctor of the Church. St Bede worked hard to help the Church in England grow stronger in faith and increase in numbers. He was a brilliant light in his day.

"Lord, You have enlightened Your Church with the learning of St Bede. In Your love, may Your people learn from his wisdom and benefit from his prayers. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen" (Collect on the feast of St Bede the Venerable, May 25).

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Who are you prepared to lay down your life for?

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15: 13).

Friday of the 5th week of Easter. We hear throughout the Gospel of how much Jesus loves us. This lesson comes to us through His teaching, parables, miracles. But the greatest of this word comes to us through His teaching by example:
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." Who can doubt this? Who can sneer at this? This is why the Cross is such a powerful symbol. It proclaims graphically the whole message of salvation.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3: 16 NLT).

Thank You Jesus.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

We are saved by grace through faith.

"And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us." (Acts 15: 8).

Thursday of the 5th week of Easter. The first Reading of today (Acts 15: 7 - 21)is what is often referred to as the first Church Council of Jerusalem. The rights, privileges and obligations of the Gentile Christians were defined and codified "but tell them by letter."

What won the argument between the party of the Pharisees and the non Judaisers was this critical insight:
"And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us." (Acts 15: 8). That is to say: God saves all people by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2: 8).

Brothers and sisters, rejoice in this truth. Let nothing keep you from enjoying fully the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, eternal life and all the fruits of Salvation.

"We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.” (Acts 15: 11). This silenced the whole assembly. They understood that the Holy Spirit has spoken.

"O God, by whose grace,
though sinners, we are made just
and, though pitiable, made blessed,
stand, we pray, by your works,
stand by your gifts, that those justified by faith may not lack the courage of perseverance.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect, Thursday of the 5th week of Easter).

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

When the Father starts pruning you, get ready for promotion.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will bear even more fruitful." (John 15: 1 - 2).

Wednesday of the 5th week of Easter. During this great Easter Season, the Son speaks to us always. We hear of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Rarely do we hear of Abba Father, the first Person of the Holy Trinity. All the Three Sacred Persons are involved in the work of our salvation.

Jesus teaches us in (John 15: 1 - 2) of the pruning action of Abba for the son and daughter being prepared for promotion. We have further encouragement from the Book of Hebrews:
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all." (Hebrews 12: 7 - 8).

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you submit yourself for discipline.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

When you recover from your disgrace, strengthen your brothers and sisters.

"They [Paul and Barnabas] strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14: 22).

Tuesday of the 5th week of Easter. Paul and Barnabas are busy traveling from city to city planting churches. Many of the new Christians were shocked when they meet brutal opposition in their efforts to evangelize. They consider it great anomaly. "This shouldn't happen. After all, we are preaching the Good News and everybody should be happy about it."

Have you ever been opposed or experienced obstacles in spreading the faith or doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy? The gruesome suffering and death of Jesus the Messiah all but wiped out the faith of His disciples. Jesus spent a lot of time after His Resurrection reassuring His disciples and strengthening their faith.

"JESUS said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day." (Acts 24: 44 - 46).

Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith will not fail as a result of the massive assault of Satan on Peter and Satan's temporary victory. Jesus then said to Peter and to us:" "When you recover, strengthen your brothers and sisters."

"Father, You restored Your people to eternal life by raising Christ Your Son from death. Make our faith strong and our hope sure. May we never doubt that you will fulfill the promises You have made. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son." (Collect, Tuesday of the 5th week of Easter).

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

I will send the Holy Spirit in My Name.

"The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." (John 14: 26).

Monday of the 5th week of Easter. We are exactly three weeks to the end of the Easter Season and the Solemnity of Pentecost. In our Gospel of today, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit in His Name.
Today is the feast of St Bernadine of Siena (1380 - 1444), a Franciscan priest whose core ministry was witnessing to the power of the holy Name of Jesus. He worked in Italy and converted many through his faith in the power of the Name of Jesus.

Remember: "You are witnesses of these things." Jesus had said to His disciples:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

God gave St Bernadine of Siena a special love for the holy Name of Jesus. May God the Father give us a similar faith and love for this glorious Name.

The ancient Church sang this hymn when they met for Sunday Mass:
"Because of this, [humility of Jesus] God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth." (Philippians 2: 9 - 10).

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

As I have loved you, so you shall love one another.

 "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." (John 13: 34).

Sunday of the 5th week of Easter. Short Gospel but powerful message. Jesus gives us a new commandment. Actually, the only thing that is new here is: "As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." This is what makes it tough and very challenging. When Jesus taught in His sermons on the mountain: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect," we thought this is a hyperbole. Now Jesus commands: "As I have loved you, so you also should love one another."

How has Jesus loved you and me? Let us search the Scriptures.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
+
"It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  
+
"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
+
"It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7).

In 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7, we see the attributes of love.
This is how Jesus loves you and me. Is this how you love yourself? Your neighbor?

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Friday, May 17, 2019

The truth of God's word has the power to make you free.

“If you keep and obey My Word, then you are My followers for sure. You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” (John 8: 31-32 NLV).

Saturday of the 4th week of Easter. We have two great Scriptures to delight and feed us from today's Liturgy. In the Gospel Acclamation, Jesus promises that if we truly stick to His word, that is His teaching in the Gospels and obey them, then we are guaranteed to have and enjoy true freedom and victory over sin, falsehood, deceit of riches, Hollywood fame, gambling and other types of disorders and addictions of modern life. Let us unpack the conditions for this great promise for this promise is absolutely true and worthy of trust.

#1 Make the word of God your home. Feed on it every day. Strive to understand its meaning for your life. Like the farmer, you need patience before you reap the fruits.

#2 You must obey the word. The Holy Spirit will help you to do this. The Holy Spirit works through the Sacraments especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The more you use these wonderful medicines of immortality, the more you see the fruits of Salvation in your life.

To tell you the truth, the promises below from the Gospel of today are for those who fulfill the conditions of John 8: 31-32 above.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.  And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it." (John 14: 12 - 14)

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Have trust in Me as you trust the Father.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me." (John 14: 1).

Friday of the 4th week of Easter. Just hours before Jesus was to proceed to Gethsemane to begin His passion, He appealed to His disciples to trust Him as they trust already His Father whom they know as Yahweh. The Father and Jesus are one as He had taught them. Again, He said what they had heard Him say often: "Do not be afraid."

We too struggle with all types of fears: family discord, health issues, financial problems, joblessness, etc. Fear is useless. What we need is trust. St Teresa of Avila gives us this verse about trusting God:

. "Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila)

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord;
No one can come to the Father except through me." (John 14: 6).

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The pledge of God to David and to us.

“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him, that my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong.” (Psalm 89: 21 - 22).

Thursday of the 4th week of Easter. As the solemnity of Pentecost draws near, we are tantalized by every word, every sound that points to the Holy Spirit. Our Scripture today comes from the Responsorial Psalm 89. David is one of my great heroes in the Bible. God anointed David copiously with the Holy Spirit thereby guaranteeing his success come what may.

What do you say of this pledge of God to David below?

“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior." (Psalm 89: 25 & 27).

My Father in Heaven, how good it is to know that You are my Father and that I am Your child!
Father, I believe in Your love for me.
Yes, I believe that You are a Father to me at every moment of my life, and that I am Your child!
I believe that You love me with an infinite love! Thank You Abba Father.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I am the Light of the world.

"I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness." (John 12: 46).

Wednesday of the 4th week of Easter. I came into the world as light. The opposite of light is darkness. The great truth of John 12: 46 is how to get this light? Belief! How to have eternal life here and now? Belief! Belief in what? Jesus!

Belief in Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God. Born of the Virgin Mary. Belief in Jesus who suffered and died in accordance with the Scriptures. Belief in Jesus who rose from the dead on the third day and appeared to His disciples. He ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to start the Church.

If you believe these propositions, you are already in the light. Abide in the light. Let your little light grow and grow and shine and shine.

"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters.  (Cf Psalm 17: 50 ; 21:23).

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life." (John 8: 12).

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Monday, May 13, 2019

I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.

"It was not you who chose me, says the Lord, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit,
fruit that will last, alleluia." (John 15: 16).

Tuesday in the 4th week of Easter. Today is the feast of St Matthias, Apostle. Here is what we know about Matthias:
"After the Ascension of our Lord, St Peter proposed that the disciples select an apostle to take the place of Judas. The choice was Matthias. He worked for the faith in Palastine, and later was stoned to death." [about 64 AD] (Roman Missal).

Why was Matthias chosen?
"It is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us,  beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” (Acts 1: 21 - 22).

Matthias pre-qualified because he belonged to the band of the original disciples. He knew the ministry of John the Baptist. He was an eye witness to the Ascension of the Lord. So Matthias was fully qualified to bear witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. When the apostles prayed over Matthias and Joseph, the Holy Spirit indicated that His choice was Matthias.

Do you believe that you too are chosen, called and anointed to bear witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus by your daily walk with Jesus? Be open and discern your call. Trust Jesus to equip you fully for whatever mission He has for you.

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Holy Spirit, the Abundant life leads the Church to the fullness of truth.

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10).

Monday of the 4th week of Easter. We have a while to go in the Easter Season before the joyous festivity of Pentecost Sunday. We have started to hear the echos of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgical Readings.

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, not a solemnity but a simple feast celebrated worldwide because of the significance of the message of Fatima. What does Fatima mean to Christians and why does it matter? First, Fatima is in the domain of private revelation. Nobody is obligated to believe the message. But because the Church approves the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima in 1917, and very importantly because the Church gives it a place in its solemn liturgy, it makes sense to pay attention to it.

What is the message of Fatima?
"The message of Fatima includes a call to conversion of heart, repentance from sin and a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, shown especially by praying the Rosary." (Roman Missal, Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13).

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10). Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10 is the Holy Spirit which amongst other blessings leads the Church to the fullness of truth.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

I am the Good Shepherd.

"My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10: 27).

4th Sunday of Easter is the Good Shepherd Sunday.
"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack." (Psalm 23: 1).

A dear friend told me of siblings who are not the sheep of Christ. They make themselves unknown to Jesus and refuse to listen and follow Him.
Do you have kids, siblings, friends, colleagues in the same situation? Do you feel any responsibility to help them? By virtue of your Baptism, the answer is unqualified Yes. (CCC 2472). These are the first steps:

#1 Intercessory prayers.
#2 Fasting, Almsgiving, Rosary.
#3 Masses.

Today is Mother's Day. One mother who understood that any foolish sheep outside the Shepherd's control is in mortal danger is St Monica. St Monica is the mother of the great St Augustine: Bishop, Doctor and Father of the Church. Through many prayers and tears, she was able to snatch her wayward son from the jaws of hell.
Augustine understood as few men have done that the so-called pleasures of this world are slippery and illusory. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8: 36).

Abba Father, attune our minds to the voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus the Son. Lead our steps to the path He has shown that we may enjoy the light of Your presence for ever! Amen.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Now enters the Holy Spirit..

"It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail." (John 6: 63).

Saturday in the 3rd week of Easter. We reach a critical point in the Bread of life Discourse when Jesus declared the absolute necessity of chewing His flesh and drinking His blood. Many of His disciples were scandalized and left Jesus and went home to continue with their former business. Jesus however did not call them back to say that He was using a hyperbole or a metaphor. Instead He challenged the few remaining disciples to go home too if they wish.

Then enters the Holy Spirit:  "It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail." The Holy Spirit is the heart and life of the Church. In the 1st Reading today from (Acts 9: 31 - 42), we learn of the rapid growth of the Church everywhere as they enjoyed peace and the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

We are almost four weeks to the great Solemnity of Pentecost. It is time to start thinking of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is Lord and Giver of life, the same substance with the Father and the Son. Together with the Father and the Son, He is adored and glorified. It is He who will turn our lives upside down. Not in a bad sense. He is the cause of the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

"Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!" (John 6: 63,68).

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Thursday, May 09, 2019

My flesh is real food.

"He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him,says the Lord."  (John 6: 56).

Friday in the 3rd week of Easter. The Bread of life Discourse is a very important theme for the Gospel of St John, so today Jesus continues this most important topic.

Remain in Me and I remain in you, Jesus pleads. The only way you can bear fruit in My work is if you remain in Me and I in you. We have heard this enough to excite our interest. But Lord Jesus, how do we remain in You?

#1 You must eat My flesh and drink My blood.
#2 You must dwell in My word. Make it really your home.
#3 You must remain in sanctifying grace.

Lord, how do I remain always in sanctifying grace? Sounds impossible. Not at all. Use frequently the Sacrament of Reconciliation and examination of conscience. Receive Me often in the Eucharist.

Lord Jesus, grant that everything we do may be directed by the knowledge of Your truth. May these mysteries which You have revealed to us give us new purpose and bring us to a new life in You. Amen.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Whoever believes has eternal life.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life." (John 6: 47).

Thursday of the 3rd week of Easter. Jesus continues the Bread of life Discourse. He makes an astonishing statement about belief. Everyone who is acquainted with the Bible knows that faith or belief is absolutely necessary for a relationship with God. But in (John 6: 47), we learn that eternal life begins here and now for everyone who believes.

What does Jesus mean when He says that "whoever believes has eternal life?" What is eternal life? Eternal life is Jesus Himself. "Eternal life is to know you the one true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17: 3). In another place, Jesus says: "I am the truth, the way and the life." (John 14: 6).

To have the quality of belief in Jesus that gives you the enjoyment of the peace and affluence of the kingdom of God here and now, you need:

#1 To believe everything that Jesus teaches. No cafeteria Christian. "He who picks up one end of the stick picks up the other end."

#2 To observe everything that Jesus teaches and commands.
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18 - 20).

"Christ died for all, that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for him, who died for them and is risen, alleluia." (2 Corinthians 5: 15).

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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.

"But the believers who had fled Jerusalem went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus!" (Acts 8: 4 TLB).

Wednesday in the 3rd week of Easter. The persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen scattered the first Christians everywhere. Just like the death of Jesus and Stephen, this persecution was no accident.

The circumstances of your call and answer to the ministry may not always be neat and planned. Hurricane, flood or fire may chase you into the land of your ministry. It could be the providential downsizing of your company or the death of a spouse.
Whatever the circumstances, you must be prepared to say Yes at the first call.

Philip, the Deacon fled Jerusalem and landed in Samaria. What did he do? He preached the Good News in his new home and converted a large number of people to Christ the Lord. (Cf Acts 8: 5 - 8).

Necessity is the mother of invention. The mother eagle shakes out the nest so that the complacent little eaglets will embrace their life's mission.

Be alert. Be vigilant. Jesus may come like a thief in the night.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
It is my Father’s will, says the Lord,
that whoever believes in the Son shall have eternal life,
and that I shall raise him up on the last day. Alleluia!" (John 6: 40).

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Monday, May 06, 2019

I am the Bread of life.

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." (John 6: 35).

Tuesday in the 3rd week of Easter. In the Bread of life Discourse, Jesus told those who were beginning to develop faith in Him that [I AM + BREAD OF LIFE]. I AM is of course the name that Yahweh revealed to Moses in the Burning Bush as His sacred name.

Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man will give us Himself as our Bread. Not just bread but Bread of life. What does the Church teach about the Bread of life?

"It [Eucharist] refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us......The Eucharist is our daily bread. The power belonging to this divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and made members of him, we may become what we receive.  This also is our daily bread." (CCC 2837)

In the Eucharist, we receive who we are, the Body of Christ. Now we must become what we receive, the Body of Christ.

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Sunday, May 05, 2019

What does belief in Jesus mean?

"Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6: 29).

Monday in the 3rd week of Easter. In our key Scripture above, the disciples asked Jesus what to do to accomplish the work of God. Jesus answered them: Only one thing is necessary. Believe in Jesus. Period.
We need to unpack what Belief in Jesus entails. Belief in Jesus means radical trust in Jesus. It means making Jesus and His Kingdom number one reality in your life.

Our second Reading today from Acts 6: 8 - 5 gives us a concrete example of a man that has a radical faith in Jesus and the result of such a faith.

"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6: 8).

When you truly believe in Jesus and the power of His name, you will be filled with grace and power and will be able to work miracles.

Stephen was surrounded by antagonists who wanted to punch holes in his claim that Jesus is the Lord and long expected Messiah "but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke." (Acts 6: 10).

The Spirit prompted what Stephen said in the debate.

Stephen's witness to Jesus showed clearly that Jesus Christ kept the promises He made to His disciples.
Do not be afraid to bear witness to Jesus.

"Alleluia, alleluia! ‘You believe, Thomas, because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe. Alleluia!" (John 20: 29).

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Saturday, May 04, 2019

Bearing witness to who we are is a duty.

"We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5: 32).

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter. During the Holy Week 3 weeks ago, we stood in the crowd and watched the Passion of the Christ. On Easter Sunday, we were huddled in fear with other disciples when the Risen Jesus appeared and said to us: "I was dead but behold I am alive forever." (Cf Revelation 1: 18). We rejoiced and danced for joy.

Today, "the true and faithful Witness" is inviting us to bear witness to what we have seen and heard. Are you ready? What does it mean to bear witness or to be sent on a mission? What does the Church say?

"The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known." (CCC 2472).

To make a long story short, bearing witness to Jesus is a duty and a necessity from our privileges as Christians.

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you."  (John 15: 16).

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Friday, May 03, 2019

What you do when you are terrified.

“It is I. Do not be afraid.” (John 6: 20).

Saturday in the 2nd week of Easter. The disciples were terrified when they see Jesus walking towards their boat in the lake. Jesus said: "It is I. Do not be afraid.” And they became pacified. Have you ever been in a fearful situation when the word of God brought you peace and comfort?

Once upon a time, I spent the night in the countryside in a house that was fenced with a brick wall. In the middle of the night, I heard a loud noise that seemed like someone of over 300 pounds had jumped over the wall. I woke up with a cold sweat wondering how to defend myself. Then a Scripture that I know and repeat often came to my mind:
"Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." (Psalm 127: 1).
I asked myself: "Who is my security?" Peace and calm returned to me and I went back to sleep.
Jesus promises to be with us always. (Matthew 28: 20). If we cultivate the sense of His presence, this will bring peace and security in fearful moments.

"O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, alleluia." (1 Peter 2: 9).

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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Feast of Saints Philip and James.

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14: 6).

First Friday in the 2nd week of Easter. Today is the feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles.

What does Jesus mean when He says that He is the Way? We say that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Jesus is the direct way to the Father. When Jesus says: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things you need will come to you." (Cf Matthew 6: 33). He gives us the most direct way to the good life. Jesus Christ is the Good News.

Jesus Christ is not only the Way, He is also the Truth and the Life. What is the meaning of life, you may wonder from time to time. The answer is in the Truth that is Jesus. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of all things. In His light, we see all light. Jesus Christ is the Top Prize.

"I have come that you may have life and have it to the full." (John 10: 10). Jesus is that life which we yearn for. This is why He gave us His flesh and blood for our food. He took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to you and said: "Take and eat. This is my body." He did the same with the cup of wine.

Just as Saints Philip and James heard Jesus say "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" and believed Him and followed Him so should we respond to His message.

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, May 3.

First Friday, May 03, 2019.

Jesus promised 12 special graces and favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 5th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #5.

#5.  "I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings."

We celebrated the feast of St Joseph the Worker on May 1st. St Joseph is the patron saint of many workers who intercede for them for success and prosperity in all their understandings.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus promises to pour abundant blessings on all the undertakings of those who honor Him especially on the First Friday of every month.

Lord, prosper the work of our hands.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

We must obey God rather than men.

“We gave you strict orders [did we not?] to stop teaching in that name." (Acts 5: 28).

Thursday in the 2nd week of Easter. The Memorial of St Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (297 - 373).St Athanasius defended the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Arian heresy. The heretics, a group not unlike the modern Jehovah Witnesses in their beliefs and arrogance. The Arians at this time had immense political power and they used it effectively to advance their pernicious doctrine. Athanasius the metropolitan Archbishop of Alexandria in Egypt suffered many exiles from Arian administrators but did not compromise the integrity of the Catholic Faith which is once and for all delivered to the saints.

"But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5: 29). The Apostle Peter and his brother Apostles laid down an important principle here. It is better to suffer than to deny the faith. This is a principle that our saint of today followed all his life.

"We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5: 32).

We believe in the infallible word of God. We believe in the Teaching of the Catholic Church. We believe in the concrete experiences God has given us to support our faith. We obey God and therefore we too are witnesses of these things as is the Holy Spirit that God has given us.

"In the midst of the Church [Athanasius] opened his mouth,
and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory, alleluia. (Cf Sirach 15: 5)

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